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  1. 1

    More people: less earth. The shadow of man-kind.

    Maguire DC

    In: Ethics for a small planet: new horizons on population, consumption, and ecology, [by] Daniel C. Maguire and Larry L. Rasmussen. Albany, New York, State University of New York Press, 1998. 1-63. (SUNY Series in Religious Studies)

    This essay on population, consumption, and ecology, opens with a short review of the crisis caused by overpopulation and the inequitable distribution of resources. This discussion is then amplified by a close look at conditions and responses to these conditions in Egypt, China, and the Indian state of Kerala and at the six most common interrelated problems that threaten our existence: maldistribution, the perversion of national governments into the service of the elite, unfair distributional patterns protected by a military support system, male dominance, indifference, and a lack of reproductive health services. Next, the essay considers the role of government and ways to achieve freedom of reproductive choices while reducing birth rates. The remainder of the essay is devoted to a consideration of the role of religions in the next millennium; the prospects for religious revolution and renaissance; the nature of religion and of God, whether God exists; the experience of the sacred; the relationship of ethics and religion; the incongruity of a sacramental, monotheistic view of God with the violence of nature; the maleness of the God-symbol; the "posthumous egoism" that seeks an afterlife and views the earth as a mere stopping-off place on the journey; and the need for religion, as a sense of the sacred, to fuel the cultural revolution needed to solve the planet's problems. The essay concludes that, despite the fact that the apocalypse is reality for much of the world, hope remains and was palpable during the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.
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  2. 2

    Complexity, morality, and policy at the population summit.

    Johansson SR

    POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW. 1995 Jun; 21(2):361-86.

    At the 1993 Population Summit in New Delhi, 60 scientific academies represented at the Summit signed a joint statement affirming that reducing population growth is a necessary part of ecological sustainable development and that action is needed now. As an explanation of this statement, the Summit produced a book of essays entitled Population--The Complex Reality. There is, however, little consensus among the contributors about the complex relationship between population, development, and the environment. Given that scientists remain uncertain about the causal relationships linking population growth to economic and ecological change, concerned governments must be equally uncertain as to which demographic policies to adopt for economic development. This review of selected essays from the Summit collection argues that the complexity of the relationships between population, development, and the environment should not be an excuse for unresolved uncertainty. Rather, this same complexity should inspire a new and comprehensive approach to explaining how human social systems work and how they can be managed to achieve outcomes that people value. Some of the contributors to the collection explore the concept of openly applying ethical reasoning to demographic policy. While their ethical reasonings may well be debated, they are right to openly discuss ethics as a normal part of social science discourse, rather than allowing unspoken, and thereby unchallenged, moral assumptions to covertly shape their policies. They also affirm the value of historical and case-oriented methods of research as a necessary corrective to the standard quantitative methods, which are given to minimizing complexity rather than coping with it.
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  3. 3

    Public health and the ethics of sustainability. Swellengrebel Lecture.

    King M

    TROPICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL MEDICINE. 1990 Jul; 42(3):197-206.

    An exposition of the ethical arguments for placing sustainability as a priority in implementation of public health programs is made, considering the definition of sustainability, theories of the demographic transition, the ecological transition, the relationship between sustainability of the ecosystem and the human birth rate, types of ethical conflicts over the issue of child survival interventions, a suggested way of resolving the dilemma and a possible paradigm shift constituting a scientific revolution in the field of international health. Sustainability means maintenance of the capacity to support life in quantity and variety. Although most demographers are familiar with Notestein's classic definition of the demographic transition, many are unaware of the likelihood that many countries will become entrapped in stage 2, to the extent that they destroy their ecosystem and thus their population, the "demographic trap." The 3 stages of the ecological transition are 1) expanding human demands with sustainable yield; 2) excess human demands with consumption of biological reserves; 3) ecosystem collapse and death or exit of the human population. An early sign of the 3rd phase is a rise in infant mortality. Sustainability can be increased by adjusting the environment or by lowering human birth rate, with Chinese rigor in need be, or by adding sustainable elements to the system that outweigh de-sustaining ones. Unfortunately there are too many unremovable constraints, and not enough time to wait for socioeconomic gains to lower birth rates. The current attempt by UNICEF to lower the child death rate to effect a demographic transition is attractive but unsound, since it has been proven that numbers of child deaths do not affect family fertility sufficiently. Reducing child deaths will only make population pressure worse. Ethical principles arguing for lowering child deaths have been articulated in Western culture, but now the challenge of sustainability may outweigh them all. It may be possible to apply sustaining measures to countries where possible, but for others, it is argued that child survival measures should not be instituted. These would only make the demographic transition impossible and prolong human misery for larger numbers. For these societies, only the kind of care Mother Teresa gives is appropriate. Finally, residents of developed countries must assume a "deep green" behavior code, a sustainable consumption level. WHO's definition of health should be updated to "Health is a sustainable state of complete...well-being."
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  4. 4

    Population, resources, environment and development.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs

    New York, New York, United Nations, 1984. ix, 534 p. (International Conference on Population, 1984; Statements ST/ESA/SER.A/90)

    Contained in this volume are the report (Part I) and the selected papers (Part II) of the Expert Group on Population, Resources, Environment and Development which review past trends and their likely future course in each of the 4 areas, taking into account not only evolving concepts but also the need to consider population, resources, environment and development as a unified structure. Trends noted in the population factor include world population growth and the differences between rates in the developed and developing countries; the decline in the proportion of the population who are very young and the concomitant increase in the average age of the population. Discussed within the resource factor are the labor force, the problem of increasing capital shortage, expenditures on armaments, trends in the supply and productivity of arable land, erosion and degradation of topsoil and energy sources. Many of the problems identified overlap with the environment factor, which centers on the problem of pollution. The group on the development factor was influenced by a pervasiv sense of "crisis" in current economic trends. Concern was also expressed regarding the qualitative aspects of current development trends, defined as the perverse effects of having adopted inappropriate styles of development. Part II begins with a general overview of recent levels and trends in the 4 areas along with the concepts of carrying capacity and optimum population. Other papers discuss the impact of trends in resources, environment and development on demographic prospects; long-term effects of global population growth on the international system; economic considerations in the choice of alternative paths to a stationary population and the need for integration of demographic factors in development planning. The various papers on the resources and environment factor focus on resources as a barrier to population growth; the effects of population growth on renewable resources; food production and population growth in Africa; the frailty of the balance between the 4 areas and the need for a holistic approach on a scale useful for regional planning. Also addressed are: social development; population and international economic relations; development, lifestyles, population and environment in Latin America; issues of population growth, inequality and poverty; health, population and development trends; education requirements and trends in female literacy; the challenge posed by the aging of populations; and population and development in the ECE region.
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  5. 5

    Population and global future, statement made at the First Global Conference on the Future: through the '80s, Toronto, Canada, 21 July 1980.

    Salas RM

    New York, N.Y., UNFPA, [1980]. 6 p. (Speech Series No. 57)

    The United Nations has always considered population variables to be an integral part of the total development process. UNFPA has developed, in response to national needs, a core program of population assistance which has found universal support and acceptance among the 130 recipient countries and territories. Historically, these are: family planning, population policy formulation and population dynamics. The following emerging trends are foreseeable from country requests and information available to the Fund: 1) migration from rural to urban areas and increased growth in urbanization; 2) an increased proportion of aged which has already created a number of new demands for resources in both developing and developed countries; 3) a move toward enabling women to participate in economic and educational activities; and 4) a need for urgent concern over ecological issues which affect the delicate balance of resources and population.
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  6. 6

    Health economics--concepts and conceptual problems.

    Satpathy SK; Bansal RD

    Health and Population: Perspectives and Issues. 1982 Jan-Mar; 5(1):23-33.

    A new discipline, health economics, which reflects the relationship between the health objective procuring adequate health care and the financial resources available, is becoming increasingly important. The WHO definition of health, that health is a "state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," is criticized for not lending itself to direct measurement of the health of the individual or community. This concept should include consideration of the process of being well as well as the absence of disease. It must also recognize that services to promote health, to prevent, diagnose and treat disease and rehabilitate incapacitated people must be included in the concept. For economic analysis purposes, health services can be classified into medical care, public health services and environmental public health services. It is suggested that the cost of education and training of medical personnel and medical research should be included in computing the cost of health services. In defining economic concepts many factors including capital and current costs, and depreciation must be considered. In addition all health economists have differentiated the direct cost of sickness including cost of prevention, detection, treatment, rehabilitation, research, training, and capital investments from indirect costs which include loss of output to the economy, disability and premature death. Using these concepts, some understanding of cost trends, cost accounting, cost benefit analysis and cost efficiency analysis should be made available in the medical curriculum and for health administrators so that health management can be more standardized and effective. (summary in HIN)
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  7. 7

    Issues on inter-relationships, statement made at the Expert Group Meeting on Population, Resources, Environment and Development. Geneva, Switzerland, 25 April 1983.

    Salas RM

    New York, N.Y., UNFPA, [1983]. 6 p. (Speech Series No. 89)

    This statement attempts to clarify the inter-relationships between population and resources, environment and development. To study these inter-relationships, it is important to take into account the trends in growth population presently existing, the development which developing countries have chosen, and a rational utilization of natural resources that all countries should adapt for themselves. Certain questions that are taken into consideration are related to the carrying capacity of the world, and inputs and technologies made available to countries for sufficient food requirements. Specific conclusions are needed to help governments define their policy. Another important issue for the future will concern the development of human resources for the transfer of technology from the developed to the developing countries.
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